I remember hearing about the Word Lens app when it originally came out a while back, but never got around to using it, as it was a paid-for app. It uses augmented-reality to translate things like signs into a different language, yet still managing to keep the same style of font and text – and all in almost real-time.

Spanish sign translated by Word Lens app

Spanish sign translated by Word Lens app

Google have now taken over the apps creators Quest Visual and have made the app and it’s add-on language packs free – apparently as it’s ideal for Google Glass – so I can now give the app a test run on my iPhone.

Having a good knowledge of Spanish – and Spain – I’m going to try out the Word Lens app on my next visit to Spain (Alicante, very soon) and see how it gets on ‘in the wild’.

As an initial test, I searched for ‘spanish signs images’ in Google and it served up lots of signs to try it out on.

It’s not really the way the app is supposed to be used, but a good test nevertheless.

I used the app on an image of a simple sign you’d see in the airport – Llegadas y Salidas – and the app translates it correctly immediately to Arrivals and Exits (ok, should be Departures, but pretty close)

The app matches the font/text type/size when it shows you the translation but the only thing is it shows you the correct translation then cycles through several others. If you didn’t really know what the sign meant, that could be confusing – but of course, I’m so far only doing this on an image not a real sign.

It’s pretty amazing seeing the app in action over a variety of signs in Spanish language and that’s just example images. Will be cool to try it out when I’m actually in Spain… I’ll add an update here once I’m back from Spain.